Different people have their individual perceptions about the safety of using pressure-treated wood to build outdoor furniture.
Some of the conflicting people’s opinions are that some claim that chemicals emitted by the pressure treated wood could damage human skin if they get into contact with it, while others strongly believe that these fears are only orchestrated by sellers of expensive woods such as cedar or teak to sell their products.
Where the truth lies is how the wood is cut and treated. As a matter of fact, some of the chemicals used in treating this wood are often safer than others. Besides, there is no scientific research has been able to establish the fact that there are associated and significant risks of using pressure-treated wood for construction projects or outdoor furniture.
Nonetheless, it should be noted that due to the toxicity of CCA-treated lumber, it was banned by the EPA in 2003 for residential use. However, woodworkers still use it even in large construction projects, including docks and decks. Therefore, is pressure-treated wood safe for outdoor furniture?
Yes, pressure-treated wood is perfectly safe for outdoor furniture. Several manufacturers of pressure-treated wood today use chemicals in their process, but these chemicals are non-toxic, making them safe for animals and humans.
What is Pressure Treated Wood?
Woods do break down, become rot, and degrade over time, just like every natural substance. Although it is nearly impossible to stop this from happening, there is still a solution. Pressure-treating is a process used by manufacturers to preserve wood to make it remain intact for a very long time.
Moreover, pressure-treating is a process that involves the infusion of chemicals under great pressure on the wood. With this, decays and repulse wood-eating insects can easily be prevented.
It’s worth noting that this process has been used for more than 50 years. Manufacturers see it as an efficient way to protect wood and wood construction and help save consumers from spending more than necessary.
Notwithstanding, it is good to know that pressure-treated wood does not have better strength when compared with its non-treated counterpart. So, even though pressure treatment is ideal for rot resistance and preventing elements from damaging the wood, it cannot influence the strength of the wood in any way.
What Type of Wood is Ideal for Pressure Treatment?
The most common wood type for pressure treating is Softwood, such as yellow pine. Softwood is ideal for pressure treatment because the chemicals can easily be forced into it, unlike denser wood, which can be a bit difficult. Manufacturers force the chemicals deeper into the wood fibers to get long-lasting and better output.
How Long Will Outdoor Furniture Made of Pressure Treated Wood Last?
It may not be that easy to know how long outdoor furniture made of pressure-treated wood will last because the durability will heavily be determined by the area of the country where the furniture is used. For instance, in hot environments such as Phoenix, Arizona, outdoor furniture may last longer than when used in Seattle, Washington, where the environment is cool most of the year.
On average, it could be asserted that pressure-treated outdoor furniture will last for about two decades. So, by considering where you live and the type of weather your outdoor furniture is mostly exposed to, you can subtract or add about five years from or to the stated figure. Besides, the life of your outdoor furniture may be extended if you keep them inside during the winter months.
What Are the Alternatives to Pressure Treated Wood for Outdoor Furniture?
The first basic question is if there are alternatives to pressure-treated wood for outdoor furniture. The answer to this question is yes. Other options will work perfectly well and offer long-lasting and attractive outdoor furniture. These alternatives include cypress, redwood, western Cedar, and White Oak
The alternatives mentioned above are great for outdoor furniture because of their unique qualities. They naturally possess properties that make them exceptionally resistant to decay, rotting, and pesky insects. This is because the heartwood (the tree’s inner part) is more rot- and insect-resistant than the sapwood (the tree’s outer part).
Nonetheless, these alternatives to pressure-treated wood for outdoor furniture can be a bit more expensive than pressure-treated wood. The woods are naturally not susceptible to rot and can easily repel bugs.
Precautions When Using Pressure Treated Wood
To use pressure-treated wood, there are special precautions you are expected to take for people and animals’ safety. Below are some of these precautions:
- Ensure that pressure-treated wood is not used where food can come in contact because it is chemically treated for stability and protection. So, it’s advisable to use the wood on a deck or fence where pets and children won’t have access to it.
- You should avoid storing food products that can touch the wood structure’s surface in containers made from wood that has received pressure treatment. Ensure you line the containers using a plastic bag first if you have no other option than to use the painted pressure-treated wood.
- Ensure you wear gloves when using painted pressure-treated wood and make sure the working areas are ventilated properly. This is because of the vapors emitted by the paint, which can be inimical to humans and animals. Therefore, you should avoid open flames nearby or a strong breeze when working with pressure-treated wood.
- You should avoid the use of pressure-treated wood for eating or cooking. Ingesting the chemicals can result in serious health issues. Also, you should avoid working where there is extreme heat or close to flames when using pressure-treated wood because the chemicals are flammable.
By now, you should know that pressure-treated wood is safe for outdoor furniture. Alkalinecopperquaternary (ACQ) treated wood can be recommended for use since it is proven to be better for safety. If you plan to choose your wood, ensure you check the label first to know the chemicals used. In case you can’t do that, get in touch with the professionals for assistance.